Summary: Though God is never mentioned in this book, his fingerprints are all over the story of the heroic Esther and Mordecai. Study along as we discuss the ins and outs of living for God in a godless culture.
LIVING FOR GOD IN A GODLESS CULTURE
Dealing with Destruction in the Bible
-Many people are unaware the President Abraham Lincoln had a short lived military career.
-One story relates that Lincoln was marching his company and encountered an open gate, through which his men needed to pass
-But Lincoln could not remember the proper command to get his men through the gate!
-He had a whole company of troops but they were being held up by a simple gate.
-So Lincoln called "Halt!" and ordered the men to fall out for two minutes and then reform on the other side of the gate.
-Did I mention that Lincoln started out as captain and rose to the rank of private?
-His troops were nearly stopped because of a barrier they ran into
-Our passage today is like that.
-We are going to look at one of our last passages in Esther and it’s the kind of the passage that is a barrier to many people’s faith.
-At this point in the story:
• Haman was been killed.
• Mordecai was promoted.
• The Jews were granted permission to defend themselves.
So on March 7 the two decrees of the king were put into effect. On that day, the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but quite the opposite happened. It was the Jews who overpowered their enemies.
-As we’ve discussed there was a stunning turn of events in Persia.
-Haman had issued a decree ordering that the Jews could all be killed, and the people who killed them could steal their stuff.
-One of the key details in this story is that Haman’s decree was given in April for March 7th of the following year.
-So they rolled dice to determine the extermination date.
-So they would have had to wait eleven months to be wiped out.
-That would be like having a year in prison before your death sentence is carried out.
-You can imagine how sad, how depressed, how fearful they were.
-And what do you suppose the enemies of the Jews were doing all this time? You have to put yourself in this story and imagine a bit.
-You can see them eyeballing your property and looking at your stuff with greedy eyes. Measuring tape…
-We can only guess about the kinds of remarks and threats they were making as they waited for March 7th.
• I’m coming for you. I’m going to get you.
• I’m going to take your land.
• I’m going to take your daughter and your wife.
• You can see those enemies bullying, and intimidating, and giving menacing looks to those 15 million Jews who’d been sold for destruction.
-But then God intervened on behalf of his people.
-In late June Mordecai got Haman’s old job, he’d come into power and he made a new edict.
-He gave the Jews official permission to fight back….but not until March 7th. The same date as the other edict.
-Both edicts were put into effect on the same day but they contradicted each other.
-One said that the Jews could be wiped out.
-One said that the Jews could fight back.
-And here’s how it played out.
2 The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them. But no one could make a stand against them, for everyone was afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the highest officers, the governors, and the royal officials helped the Jews for fear of Mordecai. 4 For Mordecai had been promoted in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces as he became more and more powerful.
-The deciding factor really was Mordecai. He was the key.
-When word spread throughout the kingdom that the highest official in the land was a Jew…people suddenly got religious.
-Those enemies got nervous. People started changing their tune.
-They switched sides and said, “I was for the Jews all along.”
-The people who were powerless suddenly had power.
-The people who were picked on were now promoted.
-The intended victims became the victors!
-It’s a great story; it’s a happy ending story.
-This is the kind of story we like to see in a movie; the man, or woman, or people that survive against all odds!
-It reminds us of Braveheart. Gladiator. The Patriot. Earnest goes to Camp. What? He won in the end!
-We love it when the good guy wins and bad guys are killed!
-Except…in the Bible. People don’t like to read stuff like that in the Bible. They complain about it. They don’t like it. Take that part out
-Critics use it against Christians…look what your loving God did.
-Pastors like to skip over these passages…not politically correct.